Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro insist they are pro-vaccine. But their Washington press conference Wednesday has sickened science advocates.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro. Image via
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro. Image via
“The event was a showcase of some of the most thoroughly discredited claims about vaccines, from the notion that they cause autism, to the suggestion that vaccines are a huge source of mercury that’s making kids sick,” Vox reported. “Kennedy also suggested journalists and the government have been colluding to cover up the truth about vaccine safety, and that the shots have ‘caused the autism epidemic.’”

But Kennedy and De Niro write: “Both of us had all of our children vaccinated and we support policies that promote vaccine coverage. We want vaccines that are as safe as possible, robust transparent science and vigorous oversight by independent regulators who are free from corrupting conflicts-of-interest.”

Their World Mercury Project is offering $100,000 “to the first journalist, or other individual, who can find a peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating that thimerosal is safe in the amounts contained in vaccines currently being administered to American children and pregnant women.”

They said a “cascade of recent science” confirms that thimerosal is a “potent neurotoxin that damages children’s brains.”

Vox quoted Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, as saying: “There is no link between thimerosal — mercury that was previously found in vaccines — and autism.”

“The only major thimerosal exposure to children is during maternal immunization with multidose flu vaccine, he added, but a large recent study in JAMA also found no link with autism,” Vox added.

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